How My Failed 2022 Will Help Improve My 2023

An ice cream that fell to the floor

This is it. Another year has passed, which means it’s time for the New Year’s resolutions posts.

I thought of joining the fun, but then I realised how much I’ve yet to achieve for 2022. So for my final post of this year, I figured I’d reflect on my shortcomings instead of my hopes and dreams.

Because as Socrates said, an unexamined life is one not worth living. So let’s examine mine and we’ll see if I can cough up some lessons on how to make the most out of 2023.

1. Writing every day

I wrote almost every day in 2022, so I may as well call myself Stephen King and call it a year, am I right?

There’s only one problem: I didn’t produce anything worthwhile.

Sure, if you tally up my word count, it’ll probably be in the ballpark figure of two hefty novels. But all my efforts were diffused at best—a couple thousand in a random first chapter, a good chunk into the blog, and a bunch of other short stories I’d cranked out for random submissions.

I wrote a lot, but a few of those words ever saw the light of day. That’s like me practising my free throws without ever stepping foot on the basketball court.

To use a half-assed analogy, I have the sun (my ideas), and the magnifying glass (my hours), but I’m not combining them to start a fire, and that’s where I’m fizzling out (heh).

So yes, while I would say I stayed true to my writing goals, I’ll also admit that I didn’t exactly show up with a good follow-through.

Plan for 2023: I’m going back to basics. Start small and take on projects one at a time.

2. Excelling in fitness

The past year has been huge for my fitness, as I’ve fallen into an everyday workout routine. That, coupled with the reopening of BJJ gyms, has made the fittest I’ve ever been in my 40 years of living.

I’ve also adopted the ‘stimulate, not annihilate’ mantra, and that’s only stoked my vigour in fitness. The downside? I don’t follow any specific programme and can’t tell if I’m improving in any of my physical pursuits.

For instance, I’ve remained a blue belt in BJJ despite being in the sport for seven years now (most people would at least be a purple belt), I can’t lift heavy because I don’t lift enough, and I can’t run far because I never truly push myself.

I’m starting to notice a theme here, and it starts with an ‘L’ and ends with ‘ack of focus’.

Plan for 2023: I’m going to pick a routine or an anchor activity to get good at, such as a barbell programme or my grappling pursuits.

3. Growing the blog

According to Wayback Machine, I’ve garnered 2,000 new followers in 2022. And since you’re reading this now, I’m going to take this time to thank you for being part of the journey.

But this doesn’t change the fact that the blog is just a passion project, and it’s not something that contributes directly to my writing career.

Yet almost all my time goes into maintaining the site. It’s the perfect illustration of the 80/20 rule, only I’m doing 80% of the work for 20% of what contributes to my life goals.

That’s not to say that I’m going to stop blogging though. It’s just that I’ll have to prioritise what ‘real’ writing means to me.

Plan for 2023: Time to focus less on admin duties, even if that means a drop in traffic.

4. Not making friends

As far as introversion goes, I think I fall pretty low down the scale. In fact, if you asked me not to see another soul for the entire year, I most probably could. Unsurprisingly, I could count on one hand the number of times I fulfilled my social obligations for 2022.

That did come at a cost, though. I felt that each time I went out, my speaking abilities deteriorated further than the previous time I’d ventured outdoors. I can’t even hold small talk now without feeling like a Nokia 3210 in an iPhone world.

If I were to highlight my worst area in life for 2022, this would be it, alongside my lack of financial growth.

I’m not going to pretend like hermit-ing is cool and all, because no man is an island. And now that I think about it, all the best opportunities in my life had come through word of mouth. Friends. Friends of friends. The like.

Only once did my blog ever get me a job. And even that was short-lived. Which is why I’m hoping to take my life offline in 2023 and live a little.

Plan for 2023: Give back to the world what I wish I had more of. Interest.

5. Taking time for granted

As previously mentioned, we’re here at yet another end of the year. And for you, it may signify hope. But to me, it just highlights another year of mixed priorities and lukewarm execution.

I had 365 days to make the most out of, and still I managed to stay in place, not feeling any different than I had since the start of the year.

I blame my lack of gratitude and planning for that. Because when you have lacklustre planning, your days tend to follow suit. Which leads to months, and years of just drifting.

Without a proper direction, it was so easy for me to squander each pocket of free time. Most of that time was spent on frivolities that didn’t contribute to my life, such as scrolling through social media or watching another rerun of Friends.

I feel like I could’ve easily avoided this problem had I had my life goals laid out before me, with very actionable tasks listed clearly on paper.

Plan for 2023: Dump my hobby-collecting tendencies and focus on doing less, but better.

Getting better at goal-setting

Thanks to my less-than-ideal 2022, I’ve learned that proper goal-setting involves a few particular points.

a. Be specific. Not only do my goals need to be detailed (e.g. finish Novel Number Two, minimum 80,000 words, within three months), but so too should my tasks (write 900 words a day specifically for Novel Number Two).

b. Improve on the good things. I’m already doing a couple of things right, so it pays to build upon the things that are working for me. All my wins should be improved further so that the benefits keep snowballing.

c. Know my flaws. It’s okay to fail or slack off. I’m human, after all. But I should always note the reasons why. This will prevent me from repeating the same mistakes and wasting another year.

Most importantly, I should remember that I can’t do everything. I can’t grow the blog while maintaining a decent output for the novel. And I can’t lift weights without sacrificing BJJ time. Knowing this will allow me to make the best decisions based on my finite daily energy.

The final say

Just because I’m writing, exercising, and learning every day doesn’t mean that I’m progressing toward my life goals.

The unexamined life is not worth living, they say? I say that the examined life not acted upon that’s the biggest waste.

So yeah. That’s all I have for today. Enjoy the rest of 2022 and have a happy New Year!

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106 thoughts on “How My Failed 2022 Will Help Improve My 2023

    • Yup! It takes us a while to realise that, but once we do, hopefully we’ll still have enough to gift to others! Gotta admit, I still focus on money sometimes because of real world demands though. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Loved your wrap up post and I do agree, looking back at where we missed out does help in forming a plan for a more wholesome future. But I would also like to say that I hope you’re giving yourself enough kudos for all the things you have put hard work into and effort into and all the things you achieved last year too😊 Because writing daily is definitely a huge achievement.. one that I’m planning to do this year. Even if it’s just junk journaling .

    I hope you get to travel and make many new friends in the physical world in 2023 too! Cheers!


    • They don’t really have tests, but a grading just happened somewhere last month. I was still recovering from stitches though, lol, so it looks like I’ll be a forever blue belt. Anyway, thanks for your kind words!


  2. I think it’s awesome that you’ve taken the time to analyze what you didn’t like about various areas of your life to formulate a plan to move forward. Although it may not seem like your blog is making a difference, your writing is succinct and entertaining to read, so it probably made more of a difference than you think it did! I love your positive spin on each area of your life, and I wish you all the best in 2023!


    • Wow, what a nice comment to wake up to, Amanda! I love the thought you’ve put into this, and I appreciate your kind words. I certainly hope I’ll be able to do more in 2023, especially when it comes to writing. Here’s to finding our way!


  3. This line is my favorite in the whole post “the examined life not acted upon that’s the biggest waste.”. All the examining won’t amount to anything if you don’t do something with what you learn. Great post, thanks.


    • That’s exactly what I like reminding myself of too. That I can’t outthink my problems, and that it’s always better to err on the side of action than to simply think. Always love having you around, Roze!


  4. “. I can’t even hold small talk now without feeling like a Nokia 3210 in an iPhone world”
    OMG Stuart, I can relate to this… 🤣

    As a health and wellness Guru, I’d say you’re doing awesome if you’ve improved in fitness!
    Kudos to you❣️.
    Seriously, dye your blue belt black.

    You sat, you wrote, you produced you even got hired ONCE… that counts seriously.
    Even tho it might not have given you 6 figures.

    You’re a star and got a post out before the end of the year and 2,000 followers is big growth.

    Mine was suppose to go out today but now maybe tonight MonTueDay … check later toni-orrow

    Seriously Stu, Happy New Year and thanks for all of the great posts this year.

    I always love seeing you and visiting your site.



    • And I love seeing your comments! Always a treat when I see your name here, Cindy.

      Am grateful for the kind words, and I love how you’ve helped reframe my year. I guess I don’t feel so bad now, after all.

      I’ve read your MonTueDay post, and it was amazing. Love the lengthy pieces, which is a different pace from what I usuall read on your site.

      Anyway, Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2023!


  5. I have only just discovered your blog and so congratulations on establishing a great platform. Good luck with writing, something which I love but find I spend way too much time procrastinating to get much done.


    • Lol I hear you on the procrastination thing. I think that no matter how long you stay at it, it’s still a daily battle to get things done, not just in writing, but in life. Here’s to finding our answers to that, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. From the outside looking in, your life certainly doesn’t look like a failure. When you said your 2022 writing included a good chunk into the blog, I do hope you were including commenting. You leave such nice comments and I always feel a little bad because I feel like it’s taking you away from writing for work. Maybe that should be my NY resolution: stop worrying about Stuart – he can take care of himself. Haha. Actually, my NY resolution is to eat fruit every day. I’m all about BIG GOALS, as you can see. ;) Happy New Year!


    • Lol I don’t typically consider commenting writing, but for your sake, I’ll do :P

      And yes, you’ll do well to not worry about it, because it’s easy to leave nice comments when the article I’m commenting on is interesting in the first place.

      Eating fruit is my favourite way of getting more fibre (veges are just a necessary evil), so I hope the habit sticks! And it’s a big goal if the end result is adding years to your life!

      Thanks for your lovely comments as always, and Happy New Year to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I see some strong resonance here my friend. For me, instead of looking forward for a year, or even to next year, I am training my mind to be more present, to live in the moment and to stop repeating stories from the past which plagued certain areas of my life. This past-story deal cripples almost all of us in some way, shape or form and we seem unaware of it until doing mind training. Thanks for sharing with us and keep on inspiring.


    • Being present is such an underrated skill. I find that it’s easier to go through hard times if I only focus on the present moment. But at the same time, it’s also one of the hardest things to do consistently. Always a work in progress with that one. Anyway, thanks for sharing your goals, Ryan. Here’s to winning 2023!


  8. So much of this resonated with me. I set goals and while I achieved some things it felt for much of the year as though my focus was drifting & 80% of the effort wasn’t going into areas that could help me with where I want to be long term. I also hear you re the hermit stuff. I work from home in my day job & rarely get out to talk to real people. It is a thing. Here’s to more focus and words in 2023.


    • Isn’t it pesky how easily we get distracted when it comes to actual living? It’s so easy to say we’ll do this or that when we’re planning, then another day passes and we’ve fallen into our old habits. Am working hard to break that cycle. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and here’s to killing it in 2023 together!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing. I could relate to 3 things here: ‘NOT MAKING FRIENDS’ ,FINANCE and ‘WASTING TIME’. My goal next year is to work on all these goals I’ve failed to achieve in 2022.


  10. Stuwie, sounds like you put a lot of ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ on your shoulders…let go, dude… Sometimes life is about living the day in no spectacular way, it just is what it is. Then make a goal to improve, even if ever so slightly, at the next opportunity. But if you don’t, it’s still okay, you’re still in the game. Breathe.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Although, writing a novel is not my ultimate goal, your post actually inspired me to be more serious with my creative endeavors. I know I am quite talented, but I am not making the effort to get recognized for my works, which I hope to change. Wish you luck on reaching your goals next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They say awareness is the first step, so it’s awesome that you’re looking to pursue the creative goals in your life. Wishing you all the best with your goals too. I’m so honoured you’d find inspiration in this. Here’s to crushing 2023 together!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. We are our worst critics sometimes. And we may not let ourselves off the hook, especially if we did not meet our life goals set for the year….I like to think we are always ‘in progress’ and if we did not achieve what we set out to do, at least we are still chipping and working at it instead of giving up. So we are not failures yet. Even if we abandoned our goals and did u-turn, it’s not a failure. I think if that happened, we were brave to admit whatever we wanted was not what we wanted afterall. So as long as lessons were learnt, we haven’t failed at all, we were just taking our time to arrive. Anyway, after arriving, there is always another ‘destination’ to go to next. So enjoy life and the process of learning. Achieving is important but learning is more fun. Happy new year!


    • I find that I’m much happier when I look at the present and tell myself this is exactly where I need to be. That allows me to focus on the process and not just the results. But I also have to admit that it’s a constant effort, and that I’m also attracted by the allure of end results. Such is progress, eh? Thanks so much for keeping me on point. Happy New Year!


  13. Hi Stuart, I can totally relate to that feeling. There goes another year… how time so easily slips by. The idea of days, months and years give us a structure but it tends to send a panic button for some of us who measure our progress by how much we have achieved or produced in a day or a month or a year. To me you write not only regularly but proficiently and creatively. I like to think that the more I write whether it is blogging or morning pages or notes making, it will somehow sharpen my mind or at least it helps me to find some clarity on a personal level. Having said that, I do realise that I need to compartmentalise my time and set some goals. Here is wishing you happy countdown to 2023 and best wishes for the New Year !!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi LH (btw, I don’t use your real name because your blog doesn’t specify and I’m not sure if you want it published)!

      If there’s anyone that gets me, it’ll probably be you, thanks to the insightful emails you send every couple of weeks.

      Always appreciate your kind words for my writing too. And yes, maintaining a writing practice works wonders for the mind. Though I sometimes wonder if it’s only the writing, or the introspection that comes with it.

      You definitely need to compartmentalise, as you lead such a busy life and stressful career. Have a great year end and all the best for the coming 2023!


  14. Hello – HNY!

    I guess the trick here is to keep on going. This is a great post, so I’d say you may be being a bit harsh on yourself if you don’t value the writing you’ve done here.

    Hope you start strong and keep on going in ’23.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If there’s anything I’m good at, it’s keeping on going—which could lead to yet another episode of going round in circles lol. But I appreciate your kind words, and here’s to smashing 2023. Also, happy New Year to you!


    • I hope that I’ll be able to humblebrag when the end of 2023 comes. Then I’ll quote you :P

      But yeah, for now, I guess I’ll have to be honest and say that I’ve achieved more in past years compared to this one. And if my conscience is telling me that, then perhaps I should listen.

      Thanks as always for stopping by, JYP!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I completely agree that it is necessary to examine your successes and shortcomings, but from what you are writing, I also see a lot of commitment and consistency with your habits, which are amazing wins! You may not see the results you expected but I can guarantee that consistency always pays off in a way or another. I hope you manage to reach your goals for the next year, but I am sure you will progress towards them!


    • I appreciate your confidence in me, so I guess I better get off my bum and make sure to take things seriously so as not to disappoint! Am also thankful for your kind words :)

      You’ve been pretty consistent too, and I like being among like-minded friends here on WP. Thanks for feeding me your energy, as that definitely makes the journey better!


  16. Stuart, I don’t see these as failings at all. Quite the opposite. Failure is only when you don’t make the effort, and you obviously put in the effort in terms of writing and fitness. You also put in the effort to assess what you need to improve on, and how to get there. It’s a cliché but it’s probably true as well — the process is what matters. Stay focused on the process and the results will follow. Best of luck in ’23!


    • Love the positive reminders. I guess I just feel like I’ve wasted all my effort on nothing, but that’s probably a requirement for me to learn this lesson. So thanks to you, I’m seeing the silver lining to my lacklustre 2022. Thanks for that, Vince!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Whoever gets to the end of a year and honestly says, “Yep, I did everything I set out to do this year and pretty much nailed it.” No one I know. I think it’s vital that we take a step back and evaluate where we’re at and what we may need to change to accomplish what we want. Many people do that with the start of a new year and tie that into resolutions, but there’s no timetable for going after what we want.

    After fulfilling my promises to a few fellow bloggers in January, I’m readjusting and devoting less time to blogging. Part of that makes me sad, but I’ve got too many things going on, and sometimes we must reprioritize. The plan now is to blog once a month to let people know I’m still breathing. Having those additional hours each month is rather freeing, and that part of things feels great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually relate with being sad when cutting down on blogging efforts. As much as I say I’m giving up on my admin duties, I still find myself crawling back to the WP dashboard and looking up posts I can comment on. So I’m happy that you’ve decided to reclaim your time to pursue what’s more important to you. You’re looking to write more stories too, if I remember correctly, so you’re in the exact same boat as I am. Wishing you all the best with those goals, Pete, and thanks for always stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t fixate on my age. What’s the point of that? At the same time, there comes a time (I’m there) when I want to finish what I’ve started. I’ve got a fabulous critique group, but I once sat in with another group. There was a lady in the group who I took a writing class from perhaps 20 years ago. She said that she has been working on her novel for 14 years. I don’t criticize anyone for what works for them, but I don’t want that to be me.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Very honest reflective post, Stuart. I think you need to focus on the positives too. While there are a lot of areas you would like to improve, I’m sure you have had some successes. And while you may not have written your books, at least you were writing – so it’s a step in the right direction.

    It’s funny, a few people have commented on goal setting. I agree, the more specific they are, the better, but I’ve actually been reflecting on the nature of motivation and what I need to do to maintain the momentum once I get started. I find it difficult to keep going and be consistent, so will be posting about that soon.

    Good luck with your plans for 2023 and I look forward to reading more of your posts in 2023

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great reflection Stuart of 2022. Interesting that you point out that despite being consistent with things, you are not progressing towards your goals. I’ve never thought of it like that- I’ve always thought that every little bit takes you closer (healthier, refining your writing). I need to think about this more! Friends is on my 2023 list (to be published in Jan) as well. Enjoy the last few days of 2022!


  20. Soon, I’d be writing my own review of the year and right now, looking at yours, I’m like: broo!🥺😭

    I’d be extremely happy if I could do just the first three things you mentioned, but then I understand that you want to get focused and do better, so it’s cool.

    Cheers to the upcoming Year 🥂


    • I’m glad to see growth in some areas of my life (such as the blog), but it can feel like running in circles sometimes. I hope to publish another novel, so here’s to focusing more and diddling less! :P

      Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like no matter how bad life gets, as long as I can exercise and eat healthy, I can keep most of my negative thoughts at bay. So thanks for reminding me of that. But here’s to getting A+ all across the board! And happy New Year!

      p.s. is there a name I can call you? It’s okay if you wish to remain anonymous though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kelly. 😊 Yeah, I don’t have this blogging thing down (profile pic, information)…like you, I’m focused on my journey, using my blog to capture and share/interact, but without the blogging knowledge you have. Maybe one of these days I’ll feel more inclined to learn the ins/outs of blogging. But for now, my journey is my focus.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well great to meet you, Kelly. I’ll make sure to remember the name! And yeah, our blogs are just an extension of ourselves, so there’s no need to learn anything beyond sharing our stories. That’s what I’m basically doing, tbh. Here’s to the journey!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Your thoughtful analysis alone puts you, for the most part, ahead of me! Not every year will meet our expectations, Stuart. Keep on doin’ what you’re doin’, though, and you’ll make great progress while being a beacon of light for all of us.


    • Your final sentence really made my day, and it did make it easier to look for a sense of purpose when you put it that way. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, and happy New Year’s to you!


  22. Hey Stuart, I appreciate your year end thoughts. I think we all have tendencies that could use a little tweaking. I raise my virtual glass to yours and ucap selamat to your continued success.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, wow, nice touch on that Malay/Indon bit. And yeah, it’s a slippery slope when we keep tweaking things, because there’s never a perfect point. We just keep tweaking on and on, forever :P

      Happy New Year to you, Kevin!


  23. It might be presumptuous of me, but I do like to think you are doing much better than you like to think.

    About martial arts, there was a Judo program for blind people, unfortunately, it wasn’t in my city. I would have joined it in a heartbeat otherwise.

    As for my own 2022? You have to wait for my own post, Stuart. I can’t exactly give everything away in a comment, now can I?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’re our own worst critics, and that we always beat ourselves up the most.

      I really do hope you find a grappling programme someday, because you’ve been expressing interest in it forever. Would be great to share the joy, and to draw observations between chess and grappling.

      And yeah, make sure you come up with that post soon! Will be waiting for it.


  24. A very honest post Stuart ❤️. You have done amazing with the blog and you’re certainly winning when it comes to exercise too as your health is your wealth at the end of the day. Quality over quantity always and I know that feeling of being hard on yourself very well. Thank you for sharing such a reflective piece Stuart and a very Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • True that. Exercise and proper nutrition cures like 70% of all my problems, I feel, so yeah, even if I have to stumble my way through, I’ll always try to give myself the best in that regard.

      And the blog wouldn’t be so lively without comments like yours, so I’m super thankful that you took the time to share!


  25. I always love your honesty, Stuart. I’ve spent most of my life trying to move toward something, without really ever defining what that something is. I’m at the stage of life where I am looking to leave my full-time career behind which creates an opportunity to find that elusive “Ikigai”, or life’s purpose. My goals for 2023 are to set smaller goals, instead of big ones that always leave me feeling like I missed something at the end of the year. Watch my blog to see how that works out for me. LOL Happy New Year, Stuart!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think it’s easy to be honest because all I’m doing is thinking aloud (through the written word), but that might also mean appearing like a fool for always taking back steps.

      I’ve been searching for my ikigai too, and here’s to finding ours regardless of where we are in life!

      Small goals are super underrated, I feel, so I too am going to try and focus on one tiny thing at a time. Thanks so much for your supportive words, Michelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Thanks for sharing your reflections! I can relate to some of them, particularly the one about time—I spend too much on social media instead of goals on my list. I might need to try writing some (SMART) goals down this year; it’d be interesting to see how it turned out. And wishing you focus and joy this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha. Tech and its stupid distractions. I feel like I’ve wasted away literal months this past year on social media. Mostly because it looks so innocent. ‘Just 15 minutes’ here and there does total up to a significant amount. Might need to change my habits for sure. Wishing you all the best for 2023!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Love it! It sounds like you’re more focused than you give yourself credit for. Many of my goals this year were missing an entire step (i.e. Step 1: blog more, Step 2: ?, Step 3: success! Lol) So I think I need to both determine solid goals for my life and be specific about them. I didn’t care too much about this sort of thing a few years ago, but now it seems vitally important; is this a sign that I’m getting old? 😅 Here’s to a solid 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gotta admit, I dove into a lot of things headfirst, which is why there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the follow through part. So I don’t think I’m too far removed from your method :P

      I think it is vitally important to always have a direction, and we’re lucky to have learned this now. So yeah, here’s to crushing it in 2023, Sarah!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m feeling a lot of what you’re sharing here too. 2022 felt a bit disjointed with a lot of great things but not as much focused productive energy. I don’t make my resolutions until my birthday though, so I have a couple months to sort out what I’ll change 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think focus is such an underrated factor in achieving goals. Without it, I just feel like I’m pointlessly putting out hard work. But I guess failing in that regard is necessary so that I can learn this lesson. Wishing you all the best with your upcoming resolutions planning!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never prioritised focus one bit. It’s always been about the grind, going hard, and just working my way through a problem. It’s going to take a while to readjust but we’ll see. Wishing you all the best for 2023 too!

      Liked by 1 person

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